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Broadband 101

What is Broadband?

The definition of broadband, or high-speed Internet, is constantly changing. The term is typically used to describe Internet service that is faster than traditional dial-up Internet. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s National Broadband Map currently defines broadband as speeds that move data at a rate of 3 Megabits per second (mbps) downstream and 768 Kilobits per second (Kbps) upstream. Broadband can be delivered through different technologies, which offer different speeds.

How is broadband different from dial-up service?

  • Broadband is always on — it does not block phone lines, and there is no need to reconnect to the network after logging off
  • Broadband provides higher upload and download speeds — more content can fit through the “pipeline”
  • Broadband provides users with access to the highest quality Internet services, including video, streaming media, VoIP (Internet phone), online business applications and interactive services

How will this impact the day-to-day lives of Missourians?

Broadband can help connect Missouri communities and have a positive impact on the day-to-day lives of Missourians. Provider choice and speed are some of the benefits of expanded broadband access.  Additional benefits of increased broadband access include:

  • Healthcare – Telemedicine and telehealth have the potential to transform health care in by allowing rural providers and patients the opportunity to access specialists, improving emergency response, reducing transportation costs and working days lost for patients undergoing routine care, offering new alternatives for home health, and improving management of health records. 
  • Agriculture – The agriculture sector can benefit from increased broadband access with expanded opportunities for real-time market information and weather forecasts and remote monitoring of crops and livestock.  Broadband can also help build connections between farms and customers through social media and web-based direct marketing.
  • Economic Development – Broadband can provide access to regional, national and worldwide markets, enhancing the opportunities for current businesses, while providing the infrastructure to attract entrepreneurs, knowledge workers, and technology-based and information services companies.
  • Public Safety – Broadband offers the potential to improve emergency response, send critical notifications and alerts, and to connect with communities – both through formal and informal communications systems. 
  • Education – Broadband can provide benefits at all levels of education.  High-speed connectivity enables remote class instruction, shared course offerings and teachers and administrators opportunities to network with peers. Broadband can help overcome geographical and financial barriers to provide access to a wide range of educational offerings.


Speed Comparison Reference Table

Below are the approximate times it takes to download different types of media at various connection speeds

  Digital Photo Audio Track 30 Min TV Show HD Movie
Speed 2 MB file 4 MB file 240 MB file 1.5 GB file
< 200K 2 min 4 min 6:15 hr 39 hr
= 200K to < 768K 46 sec 1:33 min 2:20 hr 10 hr
= 768K to <1.5M 23 sec 46 sec 47 min 5 hr
= 1.5M to < 3M 11 sec 23 sec 27 min 2:30 hr
= 3M to < 6M 6 sec 15 sec 13 min 1:45 hr
= 6M to< 10M 2 sec 4 sec 5 min 1 hr
= 10M to < 25M 0.67 sec 1 sec 3 min 30 min
= 25M to < 50M 0.67 sec 1 sec 1:10 min 7 min
= 50M to < 100M 0.67 sec 0.67 sec 42 sec 4 min
= 100M to < 1G 0.67 sec 0.67 sec 4 sec 1 min
= 1G 0.67 sec 0.67 sec 2 sec 20 sec